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Ritual Impersonator of the Deity Xipe Totec

A work made of ceramic and pigment.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of ceramic and pigment.




Aztec (Mexica)
Possibly central Veracruz, Mexico

About this artwork

As a god of the late dry season and early rainy season (May–June), Xipe Totec (“The Flayed One”) expresses regeneration. By the time of Spanish contact in 1519, the cult of this deity was widespread throughout Mesoamerica. This figure depicts a young male wearing the skin of a sacrificed victim, a primary symbolic aspect of rituals conducted during agricultural fertility ceremonies dedicated to this deity. The lines across the chest represent stitched seams where the skin was fastened. Like living seed within a dried husk, the deity impersonator embodies the relationship between death and the renewal of life.


On View, Gallery 136


Arts of the Americas


Aztec (Mexica)


Ritual Impersonator of the Deity Xipe Totec


Veracruz state (Object made in)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Ceramic and pigment


H.: 58.4 cm (23 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Samuel A. Marx

Reference Number


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Extended information about this artwork

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